Muslims mark Festival of Sacrifice

Hundreds of local Muslims gathered to pray and feast Sunday as part of the religious holiday “Eid Al-Adha” at the Maple Park Community Center.

Muslims around the world celebrate the day that marks the end of many a pilgrimage, or “Hajj,” to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, said Mahmoud Nouh, spokesman for the Islamic Center of Glendale.

Nouh, an emergency room physician at Glendale Memorial Hospital, has made the pilgrimage to Mecca twice and said he felt an overwhelming feeling of God’s presence there. Many Muslims visit Mecca at least once in their lifetime if they are physically and financially able, he added.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling of joy, happiness and peace, something that you have to taste. No matter what I tell you, you have to be there,” Nouh said.

In Glendale, hundreds of local Muslims arrived to celebrate the “Festival of Sacrifice” in which Muslims focus on their own submission to God as they honor the story of how God tested the Prophet Abraham’s obedience.

When God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael, Nouh explained, he committed to killing his son. In return for fulfilling the commitment, God offered Abraham a lamb to sacrifice instead.

“That’s why God chose Abraham,” Nouh said. “They call him the father of the recent prophets.”

The “Festival of Sacrifice” is for praising God in prayer, connecting with family and friends, and giving toys to children, Nouh added. It is also about feasting on lamb and beef and other dishes.

Glendale resident Sana Hussein was among several women of the Islamic Center of Glendale arranging trays of freshly made hummus, parsley, mint, sliced tomato, cucumber and cheese.

Hussein said she had seen the recent news of Muslims in Mecca celebrating the end of the pilgrimage.

“Now you can see all the Muslims there are celebrating because they finished,” she said. “We are happy that they did their job, or did what they should do to praise Allah, our God.”

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